Without numbers, stories are just anecdotes, but without stories, numbers are just dry statistics.
- Tara Lamont
The US DSM IV diagnostic system describes the "essential features" of agoraphobia in the following way: "There is intense fear of, or discomfort in, settings from which escape is difficult or embarrassing, or in which help (e.g. to alleviate a panic attack) is not available." It then adds the following three criteria: